Since I haven't written in a while, I thought it was about time for an update. Here is the short version: 1. Samuel is still gone (as much as I hope so, that'll never change ), 2. my heart is still broken, 3. I still don't have the autopsy results, 4. We're still just trying to make it day by day, 5. there is no joy in our lives because it went to heaven with Samuel.
For the most part the past few weeks have been "ok" (read: slightly better than horrible). I cry only a few times a day, so maybe that's progress? Sometimes I miss him so much my heart physically hurts. I'm still so frustrated with God and trying to understand how I can keep believing in Him when I have so much evidence that He is not who He says He is. I will never have an answer, so I know at some point I'm going to have to just choose to believe or not. (I guess that's what we all have to do).
Thankfully, we have some really great people in our life who love us and take good care of us. Bryan's brother Keith, his wife Terri and their two kids came over last week to spend time with us. They listened to us, asked us questions, and watched Samuel's videos with us. It was nice. I know they love Samuel and miss him too.
We just got back this afternoon from a trip up north to Grand Marais, MN. Last year, we went with my "second family" (my friends Jaimi and Traci and their families) and had such a great time. We had planned a long time ago to go again with them this year so we decided to keep our plans. This was hard for a few reasons. First, and most important, Samuel should have been here to go with us. Him missing makes everything sad and hard. Secondly, Jaimi, Traci, their other sister Jady and I were all pregnant and due around the same time. I'm the only one without my love. They all have precious and beautiful little ones. (Just living proof of the statistics - one in four babies will not live). So, as much as I love them all dearly, seeing them is just a reminder of what should have been. (their new sister-in-law is also pregnant and along on the trip - we were surrounded!) Lastly, we have little energy to do anything; let alone packing, camping, cooking, etc. But we do love them, and we know how much they care about us and are sad with us, so we went. (also, it's always good to get away from real life for awhile). We took as little as possible and planned to eat every meal at a restaurant instead of cooking. We even went so far as to take my parents van instead of a tent. We put up an airbed in the back and it was good. (At one point, we were napping in the back while parked next to the lake, which I accidentally called the river, and Bryan said "our lives are so bad we've taken to living in a van by the river". He's funny but it's also kinda true that it feels that bad.) Anyways, I digress. Overall, it was a nice time. It's been super hot at home so the mid 70 temps felt so nice. The first night was the 4th and we planned to meet up with everyone to watch fireworks. As we walked up to meet them, there stood Jaimi's husband with their baby in a front pack. Next to him was Traci with her baby also in a front pack. Oh heavens, this might be hard! I mustered up courage, walked up to them and told myself it's going to be ok. It was. We watched the fireworks and I just keep thinking, I wonder what Samuel would think of these things?
Later that night, I got to spend time with Jaimi, sitting in chairs on the beach, watching the boats float along the waves of the lake while the moon shone overhead. It was nice to just sit and talk. She is such a great friend! (Our husbands even brought us ice cream cones while we chatted.)
Over the next few days we had a nice time of just relaxing and spending time with good friends. I cried a few times - even once, to my horror, in front of people - but mostly it was ok. Sometimes all I can do it just take it moment by moment. We went for a nice pontoon ride one afternoon, we had campfires and s'mores, and I got to spend a lot of time with Traci, who I don't get to see all that often. She is going through some really hard times too, so we were quite the pair! Misery loves company, I guess. I'm so glad to have such great friends.
Now, for a crazy story. On our way to Grand Marais, we had stopped in Duluth to visit a triple-D restaurant, the Duluth Grill. It was super yummy and I highly recommend it. On our way home today, we were going to stop at a Mexican restaurant recommended by Dan, Traci's husband (who grew up in Duluth and knows the good spots). We found it on the GPS and headed out. When the GPS lady said "you have reached your destination, we looked around and found only an empty lot (stupid GPS lady) but Bryan said, "Hey look, we are right by the Duluth Grill. Want to just go there again?" Since it was so good, we decided to go again. We went in, put our name on the wait list (it was super busy) and I went off to the bathroom to freshen up. When I came back, I saw someone talking to Bryan. A couple had come up to him and started chatting. When I got there, we all introduced ourselves and the man said "it's so busy, should we just share a table?" Now, if you know me, you know how much I would NOT like to share a table with strangers - especially now - but we didn't want to be rude so we agreed. (Really, what were we going to say "I'm sorry sir, our baby just died and we don't want to talk to anyone"). Since we were now a group of four, we got a table right away. (Bryan and I talked later and both agreed that we were dreading it as we walked back to our table with these complete strangers).
We sat down and I began dreading the question that was sure to arise: "do you have any children?" Yep, it soon came. "Yes, we have a three month-old son." Big smiles from them. "He lives in heaven". Oh my! faces from them. The wife reached over and took my hand and said the right thing "I'm sorry".
This get's a bit long to write out, but throughout the next hour we all talked and found out that the husband was a former scientist/professor who taught things directly related to mechanical engineering (Bryan's profession) and, in his retirement, was now writing a book about trauma and memory (my thesis topic) and was trying to understand why bad things happen when God should step in and why it seems some prayers are not answered. (Are you re-reading that... yep, crazy, I know). We talked in depth about Samuel and how we were dealing with wounded faith. The man became emotional when he talked about knowing that same feeling (he had been though a traumatic situation also) and how he is still wrestling with it even now. (He is in his seventies). There were several moments in the conversation that were just plain crazy. I was able to share some of the research I've read on the topic of memory and trauma, and even give him possible resources for his book. He was able to share with us about his journey with faith. How could it possibly be that we were sitting at a table with people who seemed to be just the people we needed to talk to at this time in our lives? At one point, the husband said he just had an overwhelming sense when he saw Bryan that something needed to happen with him. (again, crazy, I know). We exchanged emails and I told them about this blog, so maybe we'll hear from them again.
At the end of that crazy meal, the waiter accidentally put both our bills on one check and gave it to the man. We protested greatly, but they insisted on paying for our meal. Can you even believe this? I can barely, and I was there! (Maybe God confused the poor GPS lady intentionally...)
As we left, I had a peaceful feeling I haven't had in a while. Maybe God is trying to tell us He is with us and wants to comfort us. Or maybe it was just a crazy coincidence. What it means we have yet to work out, but maybe we can take it as a sign not to give up on God's love for us. I mean, really, who does this happen to but us?
I have a lot more to say about my thoughts on this whole faith/God thing, but I'll save it for another day. Still missing my love and wishing I could snuggle up with him right now... <3
(P.S. I know some of you reading this might have the strong urge to say "Oh my goodness, Yes! God did that!" but just remember, we asked God to heal our son and He didn't. So, it's a little hard to be excited about a chance meeting. Like I said, we're still thinking on it, but maybe let's keep the comments about how amazing God is to a minimum while we try to make sense of something so senseless.)